French 'seize' Ryanair plane in Bordeaux over €525000 'debt'

AFP  File | The French authorities stopped a Ryanair plane from taking off to put pressure on the airline

AFP File | The French authorities stopped a Ryanair plane from taking off to put pressure on the airline

The European Commission later ruled around £873,000 (€1million) in subsidies paid to Ryanair were illegal and ordered the Irish carrier to repay all the money.

Ryanair was ordered to repay all the money, which the commission said gave the airline an unfair advantage.

The Irish airline yesterday suffered the embarrassment of having a Boeing 737 grounded by the French civil aviation authority before it was due to make a return fight to London Stansted carrying 149 passengers.

"Ryanair practically promised that they will pay us today", he said. Some 149 passengers on board had to wait five hours before being able to take off from the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in another Ryanair aircraft.

A Ryanair plane sits on the tarmac at the Bordeaux-Merignac airport in southwestern France on Friday after being impounded by French authorities.

France's Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) said the passengers were delayed five hours but made it to their destination with a later Ryanair flight.

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French authorities said on Friday they seized a Ryanair plane, forcing 149 London-bound passengers off the aircraft, to get the Irish low-priced airline to repay illegal public aid, the latest in a string of troubles for the carrier.

But aviation authority spokesman Eric Heraud said Ryanair had paid back the funds and the plane would be released. "By this act, the State reaffirms its desire to guarantee the conditions for fair competition between airlines and between airports".

Storms, strikes, computer failures - you can now add "your plane has been seized by the government" to the list of things that can delay your flight.

MailOnline has requested a comment from Ryanair.

Profits fell seven per cent to £1.06 billion (€1.2 billion) in the six months to September 30.

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